We all eat it too much

I have seen this in my professional and personal life. Sugar should be the focus. After all, even your cigarette was bathed in it. If you read the article, linked below, you will learn all about it.

If you want to loose weight ditch that "healthy" bottled drink you just bought, its packed with sugar. Yes, even if it says "made with real lemons".

 

The bittersweet story of sugar Why sugar is bad for you And why its dangers are still being ignored in too many countries

Stress Management

5 ways to de-stress and help your heart

Harvard Medical School.png

Constant stress — whether from a traffic-choked daily commute, unhappy marriage, or heavy workload — can have real physical effects on the body. It has been linked to a wide range of health issues, including mood, sleep, and appetite problems — and yes, even heart disease.

Regulated and Unregulated Terms

Ok guys, this is a big one. Never mind scratch that, this is h-u-g-e. One of my major sources was IDEA Fitness Journal March 2015, I read this journal because the health world moves fast.

As you can tell in the title what I am going to talk about here is the truth of the food marketing machine, which has very little incentive to market to your health, but more to your vices and behavior change manipulation. There are two keys: 1. Be very specific with your language. "Organic" is not the same as "Made With Organic...". Ok? If you understand this point then shopping healthy at the grocery story will be easier. 2. Read the back, read the back, READ THE BACK!

READ THE BACK!

Here at Healthy Exertion we emphasize that achieving health goals will never happen without having the ability to actually see the problem; which means having awareness, which means actually training that awareness. A common technique is meditation. Now, if you don't feel that your walking unaware through the groceries store, think again. Use statistical analysis with real time data to gauge your decisions based on your education level, geographic location, health & eating habits, age etc. It then becomes very easy to make you think that it was your idea to buy such and such food. What terms mean what? This one is a "natural" product, or what about this "organic" one? Or maybe this "vegetarian - fed"? O! Wait this one, "reduced - fat", that must be healthy right?

The research is very clear, most of us habitually believe the front packaging claims. Such as "rich in omega-3", "immunity booster". Those terms are as vague as saying "great new look!". For example citing"immunity booster" on the front packaging means zero. There is a term for this habitual belief, its called the "health halo effect". The front end packaging claims cause us to believe the food is healthier than it actually is.

"In fact, the average consumer makes over 200 food related decisions each day, with many of them made on “mindless autopilot,” as researchers have described it (Wansink & Sobal 2007)" (Senger, 2015).

"There is a lot of confusion out there about what food product labels mean. Terms like “gluten free, fat free, all natural” and “GMO free” imply health benefits, yet they sometimes promote processed foods full of undesirable ingredients such as refined sugars, trans fats and chemical additives." (Senger, 2015).

Here is a brief list:

  • "Natural" : 60% of people look for the word natural (CRNRC 2014). The belief is that the food has no artificial ingredients, genetically modified organism (GMO), pesticides etc. This term is largely not regulated by the FDA.
  • "Fat-Free" : This one would take a bit to explain because there are different levels. "Fat-free" means less than 0.5 grams of fat per-serving (READ THE BACK!). "Reduced-fat" must have 25% less fat than the original version (Web MD 2014). The key point here is that "reduced - fat" is relative to the original food, that is not a health standard.
  • "GLUTEN FREE In August 2013, the FDA set a gluten limit of less than 20 parts per million for foods that carry the label “gluten free,” “no gluten,” “free of gluten” or “without gluten.” But despite this term’s current trendiness, nutritional needs vary and consumers should proceed with caution. ''Gluten free’ by no means equates to a healthier choice,'..." (Singer, 2015). 
    • In fact, if you read the back, they sometimes add more sugar to gluten free foods.

Here are the main points (Senger, 2015):

  1. Beware of the hype 
  2. Read the back
  3. Be aware of the health halo
  4. Eat Whole foods. Period.
  5. Find a food philosophy - don't get lost in looking at the components of food, it is away to connect with life and nourishment.
  6. Eat Local & that which was farmed without mono-crops.

This post would run to long for me to give every detail, but do your research. Healthy Exertion is here to help, click here to contact us. Or go down to the bottom and check our references to start there.

 

References

CRNRC (Consumer Reports® National Research Center). 2014. Survey research report: Food Labels Survey. Accessed Nov. 30, 2014. www.greenerchoices.org/pdf/ConsumerReportsFoodLabelingSurvey.pdf (http://www.greenerchoices.org/pdf/ConsumerReportsFoodLabelingSurvey.pdf).

SENGER, M. (2015, MARCH). WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT FOOD LABELING COULD UNDERMINE YOUR HEALTH. IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL.

Web MD. 2014. Lowfat diet: Why fat free isn't trouble free. Accessed Nov. 30, 2014. www.webmd.com/diet/lowfatdiet (http://www.webmd.com/diet/lowfatdiet).

Goalless Health

Alan Watts: "All ideas of self-improvement and of becoming or getting something in the future relate solely to our abstract image of ourselves."

This is exactly how you should approch your health. For us and Healthy Exertion's, this quote sums up the correct motivation. This is how you can achieve health, and age with dignity, instead of chasing youth. If you don't do it this way, you will be disappointed with your achievements, because it won't last. To us being an athlete, or health enthusiast, with the motivation that there is something wrong with you is a remedy for disaster. However, to approach your health journey with empowerment and understanding on the "why" of your motivation, you will be victorious.

Sole Mates 5k & Brewfest (Nov. 5th). Colder Boulder. Bolder Boulder.

Hey Hey!

This is a friendly invitation for a free, non-obligatory, easy-fun training days. Healthy Exertion be running every Sunday morning in preparation for these races (weather pending). Please join!! There will be a specialized herbal tea for sale, it will help open the lungs and increasing blood flow, I personally will be drinking this tea.

I will post a map, and location of where the running will be. It won't be different every Sunday but it will change.

Please connect with Healthy Exertion's Facebook group to schedule and meet up.

Click here for Healthy Exertion's Facebook group - join the group and post that your coming.

Click here for Healthy Exertion's Calendar & Events - see for dates and links to races.

Food Logs

Hey Healthy Exertion Blog readers, recently I was engaging myself with practicing a food log, a very normal thing to do in the health world, and I encourage my clients to do often. This time I was doing it through the lens of Chinese medicine, which emphasizes sour, salty, sweet etc. and the correlation between mood and overall health. This all was in the context of my masters program in Contemplative Education, a set of skills I hope to bring into the health promotion field. Anyways, in this class we are asked to post our experiences and I did. Later a friend asked me a question online that I will post here. Before I knew it my response was a heart spilling with passion. After I read it I figured it was perfect for Exertions Blog. I hope you enjoy and find the motivation to make health relevant in your life too.

My friend's question:

"Sean, i was interested to read your experience of this exercise.  I have tried to do such a log in the past and I can never seem to follow through on it.  We have a practitioner of Chinese medicine at my workplace (mostly to see our clients, but available to staff if she's not busy), and I swear I must be her worst client!  I pay so little attention to what I eat, what position I sleep in, and all of the other little details she asks that I usually can't answer 90% of her questions.  I wonder what in particular made this exercise interesting enough for you to devote several days to it?  And how might you make it interesting enough to a student/client like me?"

My Reply:

To answer this will take a bit of story.

Well, that is the question isn't it? "What makes it interesting enough?". It's amazing to see how one sentence sums up all the behavior change theories, workshops, explanations, etc. I have studied or used in relationship to this. Years of study, and more years of work, I don't think there is one answer. The answer is for sure not a quick one, nature and health isn't quick like humans. So, I guess what I have seen, with people and health, is that there is a profound shift when health is immediately in front of you, i.e. you get sick, or get diagnosed with something. So this really means we all have a tendency to look for short term reward (chocolate cake) versus long term gains (no chocolate cake = not adding inflammation, atherosclerosis, mood swings, instant pressure on your liver to convert blood glucose into fat, stress on your pancreas, inflammation of the joints etc.)....uggh suddenly I don't want chocolate cake ever again ha! That is the trick!

So, when I was overweight, and once I had high blood pressure, what did it for me was to keep it consistent. Not only did that make it easier to "control" my health, but one's body literally processes things differently when you transform the tissue to be engaged with food and movement. So it becomes easier and easier. I mentioned in a previous post, that it feels so good when your behavior switches from "O, I can't have that chocolate cake." To, "I don't want that chocolate cake." To get there is easier than it seems, but it just takes time.

Added to all this is that there has to be some Loving Kindness mixed in with the discipline. I have only seen clients fall when their motivation was rooted in that they were "inherently wrong". Which then leads to story lines. "I have a slow metabolism", "I can't loose weight" "My muscles can't be strong because I am a woman" "I am skinny so I don't need to relate with my eating" etc. What if we took the Dalai Lama's words and applied it to health? "Everyone possess the same potential." Too me, saying that towards healthy behavior, as an aspiration, is a recipe for a health-happy life. After what we think and do, is what we become.

So...what made this interesting for me was embracing that the mouth is one of the most sacred and intimate parts of our life and bodies, and I have little to no awareness on what I put into it??? Why does my tongue rule my appetite? I liked it because I have the relevance of seeing clients do it, and personal experience with the long-term reward, and I liked thinking about the Chinese part. Although I am not trained in Chinese medicine, my health promotion is very much "holistic". Another thing that helped was thinking, if one wants to be a positive influence in the world, one must be comfortable in their skin, and if being comfortable in one's skin requires that they take care of it, then one must find a way - which sometimes might mean monotonous food-logs.

And how to make this interesting for the client...for some it really solidifies when there is success. But how to work through the process before success? Observation. Take time to observe the world around you from a health lens, see how people behave and question what they do with their body, notice the cultural differences between health, where would you like to be in the future based on what you see other people doing. Is the person who has terrible health, who doesn't see it but everyone else does, who treats their body terribly, are they the person to become?

I will go out on a limb here and recommend something for you specifically. Imagine your Ancestors, true they had it easier in some ways when it comes to eating simply and healthy, however imagine their beauty and their aura of strength; imagine their wild horse streaming through the fields, her hair so shiny, the muscles so at ease as her legs push her forward. All of this comes from being kind to oneself, by being healthy. Having healthy behavior in current times is harder than it ever was before, but that just simply means more patience is required.

Lastly, what really does it for me, is to imagine how helpful I am being to the world by being healthy. I breath out, the tress breath it in, I cycle vitamins and minerals by loosing weight, maybe they will end up to those who need them. I walk, run, cycle, swim, and eat on this earth in a way that doesn't throw it off balance, I am sunlight that has energy. Chinese medicine has a great way of showing how energy causes things. For example too little energy flow in the body is cancerous, to much is towards, say, heart attack. What is your balance??

Whoa...quite a rant...I'll post it anyways. I hope it answers the question!

I had some nice comments so I thought to post them too!

This is brilliant- I hope all read it- and Sean- PLEASE continue to work in health education, you really have a gift and a unique take on it. 

I am going to second; this is absolutely brilliant! I can feel your passion Sean!! I love the comment you made about your mouth being the most sacred and intimate parts of our life and body! I honestly have never thought about the mouth being so sacred!  Amazing perspective!

 

Bitter fruits article

Bitter fruits article

If your reading this know that my heart is spilling here. I would love to have this organization with a strong team and employees engaging in programs and initiatives liked described in the Bitter fruits article. I imagine things like supermarket food walks, or a healthy app, or health education workshops and presentations. Maybe even policy level in partnership with the Public Health department. Fundraisers for those in food deserts, the list is endless.

If you feel my inspiration, feel the hopes I have for this organization, let me know. Let me know if you have ideas, or just positive vibes to send my way, or maybe you want to join me. The world needs health in schools and beyond. It is one of the most talked about subjects, the most thought about, and the most convoluted. So many people from different professions come into the field, now more than ever we need to have organizations like Exertion on and out there making a difference.

(Sorry I can't post the Bitter fruits article here. I asked for copywrite to post it, but the Economist has yet to permit my request. If you want to be informed and learn the larger picture of health, this is a great article to use. I will be referencing this article for years to come.)