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Fit For Life: Eat This, Not That

Saturday, June 29, 2013

 

Do you know what goes into your favorite foods? Being more conscious about the quality of your diet will help you in the long run.

Let’s talk about the food we eat. So much in the news every day! Eat this, not that. The information is confusing, and people just don’t know what to eat, and what to buy. While not getting into breaking down macro-nutrients and counting calories, I do want to give you a basic understanding of what foods I recommend you should be eating as well as what foods you shouldn't, and why.

Factory foods

Due to large food manufacturers spending millions of dollars marketing their products and trying to deceive the public, eating healthy has become more difficult than ever. Even when you know what to eat, it can be difficult to find the proper foods in traditional supermarkets and in restaurants. When I hear the word “factory”, the first thing I envision is a large building or complex, with pipes taking chemicals ‘in’ and tall stacks taking wastes and pollutants out. Inside are teams of people working in protective gear–very much like hazmat suits and gas masks. And, yes, it is very much like that in large food factories. Now ask yourself if you want a place like this making your food? The sad truth is that most Americans eat food that comes from this type of manufacturing setting. So this is where we can begin: STOP EATING FOOD MANUFACTURED IN A FACTORY! This includes processed foods and grains as well as animal products that have been mass-produced. Ask yourself if the animals were raised with care and pride, or were they treated like some other commodity, such as plastic or Styrofoam?

GMOs

Today, just about anything containing soy, wheat, and corn, has been produced in an outdoor manufactured way, with large cash crops being turned into GMOs (genetically modified organisms). There are too many reasons NOT to consume GMOs, for me to list, but if you Google 'dangers of GMOs' you will find a plethora of good, detailed information. For the purpose of overall health, our bodies do not break down, digest, and utilize these foods efficiently, therefore causing great stress and inflammation to the body. So when we eat something that doesn't get broken down and used as energy or building blocks for muscle, it gets stored as fat.

Farms

Another thing to be wary of is the way your animal sources are produced. Larger "feedlot" farms are notorious for mistreating animals, keeping them in confined areas, and feeding them all sorts of processed, garbage foods to fatten them up quickly. When you feed animals huge amounts of processed grains they get fatter faster. Is there a relationship to humans gaining weight and being heavier than ever? Avoid eating this stuff. Look for grass fed beef, lamb, bison, free range chicken, eggs, and pork, and consume only wild caught fish. If you don't carefully select your animal sources, you are eating all the toxins, and antibiotic drugs they consumed, magnified! Fat in their bodies as well as ours store toxins, so the more of these inferior products we consume, the more toxic matter we consume, the sicker we get. Animals that are allowed to roam, forage, and eat what they were biologically designed to eat (cows/grass, chickens/seeds and insects, etc.) provide us with more nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that our bodies need to maintain a strong immune system, build muscle, burn fat, and be healthier, energetic, more vital and efficient. You will also be supporting farmers that treat their animals in a humane fashion and a much more sustainable closed organic cycle.

Organic & Local

The last important thing to consider is weather your produce was grown organically or conventionally. Some argue that the difference in nutrients is minimal, so consider other factors. Conventional growers use pesticides that can not only harm workers spraying them, (hence the gas masks they wear while using them) but also kill all the microorganisms needed to replenish the soil in a closed organic cycle. Sure, you can wash your produce and peel the skin, but what about the chemicals that are absorbed through the soil? These compounds are widely believed to cause conditions related to the central nervous system, as well as neurological disorders, infertility, ADHD and behavioral issues, etc. so you may be willing to chance it, but I recommend you begin transitioning to eating organic produce, or at least local, where you know it was picked fresh and seasonal. Conventional mega-farm growers grow in mass quantity, pick prematurely, spray with gases to slow ripening, and wait for the prices to sway in their favor–not the practice I want to support.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when being nutrition conscious, but the most important things to remember are: avoid highly processed foods, eat only humanely, sustainable raised animal products, and eat organic and local as much as possible. By doing this you will eliminate many factors that can slow your goals to achieving a healthy fit body, as well as many ailments such as inflammation and arthritis, and many sicknesses and diseases. While this all may appear daunting and difficult, don’t be discouraged. Take the challenge to learn more about the foods you eat, for both you and your families. Visit the local farmer’s markets, stop at roadside stands this summer, plant a garden, find local organic farms, buy your seafood off the docks, ask questions…yes, there will be an increase in your food budget, but the more consumers demand better foods, the more businesses will hear what we want and adapt their products. Just think about all the restaurants now that offer gluten free menus…consumers have power–so, let’s use our voice and also let our dollars speak for us as we patronize businesses who listen.
 

Matt Espeut has worked as a personal trainer for almost 20 years with clients ranging in age from 14 to 86. His focus is on overall health, strength, and functional conditioning. Holistic health and nutrition is the cornerstone of all his programs. Matt works in private and small group training available at your home or office location or at gym facilities. Matt offers his services to everyone wanting to be more fit and healthy, overweight young people, youth/collegiate athletes, and seniors. Matt has worked and continues to train at several facilities in the Providence area including Gold's Gym and CORE Studio, and he believes continued education is a must in his field. Email Matt: [email protected], check out his website at www.fitnessprofiles.net or on Facebook at Matt Espeut or on Twitter @MattEspeut.

 

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